the word grimoire was definitely in there

Laurel’s Guide to Grimoires

A while back I made a post about how I organize my Grimoire/Book of Shadows and for a long time since then I’ve wanted to a sort of 101 for creating a Grimoire/Book of Shadows. Be warned, this will be a long post! As always, this is merely my opinion, my word is not law.

(UPDATED 4/24/17; All updates are marked)

Originally posted by ephemeralsyzygy

-The Grimoire Basics-

What is a Grimoire?

As my own personal definition, a Grimoire is simply any book used by a witch in his/her/their own personal practice. There is no limit as to what a Grimoire can or cannot be, as each one is as unique as the witch who wrote it.

How do I use a Grimoire?

A grimoire is used to document, or keep track of, any magickal information that is relevant to the practitioner.It serves to log everything you need to know in your own personal craft. 

-Types of Grimoires-

These are my own personal “styles” of grimoires that I have made over the years. These are not the only “kinds” of grimoires, merely suggestions.

- “Textbook” Grimoire: This is a grimoire that is set up to serve as a reference book, a book strictly for spiritual or magickal information. 

- “Practical” Grimoire: This is a grimoire that can serve a practical purpose, such as a recipe or spell book. Often more portable than a standard grimoire.

- “Inspirational” Grimoire: These are often called inspiration journals. They are filled with spiritual images, quotes and writings to serve as a sort of “bible.”

- “Memory Keeping” or “Journal” Grimoire: This is a grimoire that serves to be a personal record of thoughts and feelings pertaining to spiritual activity in your life. 

-Grimoire Keeping Methods-

- Blank bound or spiral bound Notebooks
    - I’ve actually seen someone tape composition notebooks together to get             a “thick” book.
- Recycled or used hard/soft cover books
- Binders
- OneNote/Tumblr/Internet
- Computer Folder/Flash Drive/Memory Card

-How to make a Grimoire-

I recommend that if you are starting a grimoire or are a relatively new witch, don’t even bother buying a nice, expensive, fancy journal. Most of the time (unless you’ve already done one or two grimoires before and you know exactly what you’ll be putting in this grimoire), that book will sit on a shelf and collect dust. Many new witches get excited to have a “fancy” grimoire and then become terrified of “messing up” in it which results in that book never being used. We’ve all been there, done that.

That being said, here are the basic steps I followed when making my “permanent” grimoire.

- Decide on your Grimoire Keeping Method
 - Gather the information that you would like to put into your grimoire (this can sometimes take a very long time, it took me years), although if the “write as you go” method is more comfortable for you, then go ahead.
- Organize your information. If you’re a perfectionist like me, this might take a bit. It’s also completely natural to change up your organization style later on.
- Protect/Consecrate your Grimoire. This is completely optional, but it can also be a fun “witchy” way to bond with your grimoire.
- Put all your information in your book in anyway that you desire. I found it useful to “plan” out the book before I started writing in all the information. This way I knew exactly what pages were going where.
- Decorate your Grimoire. Also, completely optional. Some people like decorating with flowers and ribbons and pictures and stickers. Other people prefer straight to the point text. Either way works perfectly fine.

A quick note for those who suffer from the perfectionist complex: don’t sweat it. We all want our books to be “perfect” but after writing about six grimoires I’ve learned that grimoires really don’t ever become “permanent” because our preferences change as we grow. If you’re worried about it being perfect, starting “planning” pages in a cheap journal. Take note of any mistakes or things you want to change. You can always create another grimoire later. Don’t let that pesky perfectionism hold you back. And if you make mistakes, try to work with them and turn them into something else instead of scrapping your book to start over.

I used to dream of having a huge, Charmed-like Grimoire, and now I prefer the small, sloppy, scrap book, messy-writing kind of grimoire. Don’t sweat it.

Things to put in your Grimoire

- Correspondences
- Sabbats, Esbats and any Holidays you celebrate
- How to cast spells
- Spells and Rituals
- Divination
- Astrology
- Herbs and Recipes
- Crystals
- Topics you’d like to learn about later.

@cosmic-witch has a HUGE list of topics here

How to organize your Grimoire

This post details my own personal Grimoire Index. However the best way to organize your grimoire would be whatever works best for you. I personally like having everything divided into matching sections. However, if you write spells a lot, you may want spell writing notes in the front, while correspondences would be better in the back. It’s all up to personal preference. 

 Witchy-Woman’s Grimoire Organization

TripleVirgo’s Grimoire Index

 My Tips on Grimoire Organization

(UPDATED 4/24/17)

Other Grimoire Tips

- Intention Cheat Sheets. When you want to write a spell, nothing sucks more than having to flip back and forth all over your grimoire to find the information you need. My advice is to make “cheat sheets” for each of your intentions. Pick an intention, such as Money, and write down anything that corresponds to that (colors, herbs, moon phases or zodiac signs, crystals, incense, etc) this way the next time you want to do a spell for Money, you can just flip to your cheat sheet and be done. (UPDATED 4/24/17)

- Incognito Grimoire: Find a generic book that you like at a Goodwill or second hand shop. Write your witchcraft notes/correspondences in the margins and spacing. Use markers or crayons to draw pictures and symbols. You can also glue blank pages into the book so you have more space to write anything you want. This way your Grimoire can sit in plain sight on your bookshelf when you have company over and no one will be the wiser.

- So You Don’t Think You Can Grimoire: Tips and ideas for witches who struggle with the “My handwriting is terrible and I can’t draw” complex. (UPDATED 4/24/17)

- Scrapbook Altars

- Create a Magickal Memories Folder

This post will probably be a “masterpost” of sorts that I’ll continue to add to as the inspiration strikes. If anyone has any ideas or grimoire-related topics they’d like to see, feel free to share!

~L

Moon Journaling

I just finished making this handmade book which I’m using to start a Moon Journal or Book of Moons. This is a book used to compile information about the moon, it’s phases, and to track your own lunar magickal practice. Here’s a list of inspirations for starting your own moon journal!

1. Esbat- definition and description
2. Lunar cycle
3. Lunar calendar for the year
4. Sections dedicated to each phase going into more depth. (New, waxing, full, waning)
5. Rare occurrences like blue moons, red moons, eclipses etc.
6. Maiden/Mother/Crone
7. Moon Names
8. Lunar dieties
9. Animal Correspondences
10. Drawing down the moon
11. Tarot spreads
12. Lunar Gardening
13. Spells/rituals
14. Recipes (I plan on including food, teas, and potions and a recipe for moonshine!)
15. Crafts
16. Songs/Poems/Prayers/Devotionals
17. Definitions for words associated with the moon
18. Color associations
19. How to charge crystals
20. Gems/crystal associations

Grab a notebook, fancy journal, or make your own book of Moons and start living in tune with the lunar cycle!

Witchy 101-Research and practice

As we all know, Witchcraft has a lot of branching paths, things to learn and stuff to try. But we can’t possibly learn everything, not all at once. It is important to take things with a pinch of salt, and apply our own learning experiences to really begin understanding Witchcraft.

-Choose the topics you like; what do you want to work with, learn to do. They are the ones you focus on

-See how you can break topics down into chunks; divide it up into sections and focus on a section at a time until you understand it, then progress to more advanced sections once you feel comfortable. Don’t rush though!

-Mix theory with practice; you’re best to practice as you go as so to see how you feel doing it. This also gives you some flexibility into changes you make to methods and approaches, so it’s comfortable for you. Use everything as a guide, but make sure you make it personal.

-Everyone’s different, so don’t feel like you need to copy someone else to be good enough; if you like your way, then don’t change it.


Ways that you can record and research;

-Books; the staple of Witchcraft. Not everyone’s going to know what books are good or bad, but that’s how you learn. Look up book recommendations, ask around, or just grab a book and try it. If it involves plants, follow safety precautions and be careful with handling, otherwise use information from Witchcraft books as a guide. 

-Collecting items; if you work with physical objects like plants, crystals, candles, etc. Collecting is very useful as part of learning. Experiment and see what you can do with them, because you might discover ways no one else could. 

-Notebooks; pretty self explanatory, and these can be drafted neat into a grimoire if you have one

-Flashdrives; again, self explanatory but these make excellent portable grimoires for the discreet witch

-Photographs; If you are into plants, taking photos of anything you come across is very handy, and they can be stuck into your grimoire or stored on a flashdrive. Remember to name and label them with parts that you can use and always cross reference anything you find with reliable sources

-Field trips; visit as many places as you can, including your local area. Get to know what’s available to you. There’s always a good place for magic outside, but just be safe!

-Online resources; Google is great for answering quick questions, or getting definitions for words. Tumblr as we know is rich in resources created by other Witches. Also be sure to look at Websites, cross reference anything you’re unsure of though!

-The Witchcraft community; there are thousand of us, and we all know something useful and unique, so if you need assistance and opinions, asking us is a great way of learning something that a book never could teach you.

-Mobile apps; there are apps suited to different interests, like tarot references, moon phases, even plant encyclopedias. Explore those and try them out!

Vocabulary Lessons

A/N: I can’t remember who I saw post about needing some sweet Sam fics, but that’s what got me to thinking about this one. Then, I stumbled upon a list of beautiful words in the English language, and it was like it was meant to be. And the result of that pairing is this little one shot. Hope you love it, and as usual, all feedback is welcomed and appreciated. Let me know if you wanted to be added or removed from my tag list. 

Warnings: Fluffy, fluff; mild language; mentions of sexiness and nudity

Word Count: 1300-ish

“Somnambulist.”


“What the hell are you muttering about this early in the morning, Sam Winchester?” Y/N grumbled sleepily and wiggled deeper under the covers, snuggling back against him as she did so.

“You heard me,” he chuckled softly, wrapping his arm around her tightly and kissing the back of her head. “You are a somnambulist.”

She sighed lazily, smiling but never opening her eyes. Leave it to her nerdy Sam to spring a vocabulary lesson on her at the crack ass of dawn. “You’re a somna-whatever-the-ist,” she muttered back weakly, not having a clue what the silly word even meant.

He snorted in amusement at the pitiful comeback. “You are almost as bad as Dean in the witty comeback department, Y/N.” 

Keep reading

Witch: My very unshadowy book of shadows

Before I get started here, I want to define a few terms (as I use them) in language that should hopefully make sense to non-witchy people or people who are new to witching.

Witch
Person (of any gender) who does witchcraft (not specifically wiccan!)

Eclectic witch
Witch who draws from a variety of spiritual paths and traditions

Deities/Gods
Personified/archetypal representations of aspects of the human condition, nature and cultural experience

Ritual
Set of words and actions used to focus intent and desire

Spell
Set of ingredients and tools used to focus intent and desire

Magic
The art, ceremony and practice of focusing intent to achieve desired results

OK, now that’s out of the way and you hopefully get where I’m coming from, let’s move onto the book of shadows stuff!


What is a book of shadows?

If you’ve read any witchy things on the internet, chances are you’ve run into the term book of shadows, book of mirrors or grimoire. Depending on what you read or who you ask, these can be different things or different words for the same thing. Because witchcraft is such an individual path, there is no one correct definition of a book of shadows/mirrors/whatevers. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to use book of shadows, but in doing so I’m referring to all the things I just talked about.

A witch’s book is (usually, generally) a place to gather reference material relevant to their practice as well as to record spells and workings they do. Some witches prefer to use a heavy, leather-bound book filled with beautiful calligraphy for this purpose. I use a pink Filofax Clipbook filled with scribblings in pink and black ink, and also Microsoft OneNote synced between my laptop and phone because I like to have a portable version of my book with me at all times.

Witches who follow a Wiccan path and/or work as part of a coven may have a very different book of shadows from a solitary eclectic witch. The point is, there is no right and wrong. It’s all down to the preferences of the individual and what works for each person.


What’s in my book of shadows?

I’m going to refer mostly to my physical book here, but my digital version is pretty much exactly the same. The picture at the top of this post is the first page of my book.

My book contains ritual words and processes, including specific spells and ritual workings with notes about when I carried out them out and how I felt during and after. I also have an ever-growing collection of research and reference material about everything from deities (Hel and Thor are my patrons) to festivals to tarot to runes to colour, nature and conceptual symbolism and correspondences. I also keep records of tarot readings I do for myself as well as dedications and prayers I’ve written.

My book is a living document, a place of study and growth. Things get added constantly and shuffled as suits me, which is why using a ring binder rather than a regular notebook works best for me. I’ve been there with the ever-so-serious only-write-perfect-things-here books and I ended up not really using them because I didn’t want to mess them up or do anything wrong. For me, a process of life-long learning is all about messing up and doing things wrong. That’s how learning happens. Rough drafts, scribbles and ideas are just as important as beautiful, finished pieces of art.


What should you put in your book of shadows?

The short answer is anything you want. If you’re starting your own book, I would encourage you to make it in such a way that you actually use it and aren’t scared of not writing neatly enough or revising information based on new experiences. Some witches are totally against keeping a digital book of shadows. Some feel it’s more powerful to hand-write everything. Others are happy to print pages from the internet. Some keep their book completely private and others share photos of their pages on Tumblr and Instagram. However you create and keep your book, it should be what works best and feels right for you.

If you’re staring at a blank page with literally no idea where to start, here are a few ideas:

  • Information about your chosen deities or pantheon
  • Prayers and dedications to your patron/matron/whatever-you-call-them deities
  • Research into herbs, plants, incense and oils that you use
  • Notes on seasonal festivals you celebrate
  • Principles and concepts relating to your spiritual practice
  • Spells you’ve worked and notes about your experiences
  • Correspondences for colours, days of the week, phases of the moon etc
  • Reference for divination processes you use, like tarot or runes
  • Quotes and song lyrics that speak to your beliefs and practices
  • Records of your dreams and meditations

The internet is an AMAZING starting point, especially YouTube and Tumblr, as are books that other people have written. Read the hell out of everything you can get your hands on but when it comes to filling the pages of your book, make it your own. Your experience of the divine will never be exactly the same as someone else’s. The plants you have access to will depend on where you live. Even the dates of seasonal festivals and sabbats will be different depending on your location – the wheel of the year in the Southern Hemisphere is the opposite way round from the Northern Hemisphere. Certain ritual processes will resonate with you more strongly than others. Where possible, use your own words as they will always hold more power for you.

This is my book of shadows. There are many like it, but this one is mine.


A note about my solitary, eclectic Pagan witchcraft, research and reference, and other cultures

My spiritual path is one of eclectic Paganism with mostly Celtic, Norse and, to a lesser degree, modern Wiccan influences. This has happened naturally over the twenty or so years I’ve been witching. I never set out to choose specific influences or deities but certain things have caught my attention and called to me. In a practical sense, this is probably because I’m a half-Irish half-English person currently living in Scotland with, to the best of my knowledge, mostly Celtic and Norse heritage, so those are the things that I’ve encountered as part of the culture I live in and that feel most relevant to me.

That’s not to say I don’t have any interest in influences from other cultures, because I do. I’ve always been intrigued by the similarities and differences between spiritual and religious beliefs and practices from all over the world and  have read widely about various topics from Native American spirituality to Buddhism to Christianity. I’ve definitely been influenced by this research, and I absolutely adore talking to people who follow spiritual paths that differ from mine, but there’s a big difference between “I’ve read about these practices and am influenced by them to an extent because aspects of them resonate with me” and “I’ve read about these practices so I am now that thing”.

That’s actually a really hard concept to wrap words around and I’m not sure that I’ve done a very good job of it. It’s such a broad subject and I really only feel comfortable speaking to my own experience and perspective. Also, I feel it’s important to remember that when a spiritual or religious practice is part of the culture of living people who currently exist, that should always be respected. To take it out of the context of religion for a moment, I eat Chinese food, I cook Chinese food, I go to Chinese restaurants but none of that makes me Chinese. You know?

I also lean towards chaos magic in my practice of witchcraft. For me (I am not defining chaos magic here – please do go and read about it though, cause it’s really interesting), that involves using the power of belief as the individual chooses to direct it with the intent of focusing personal desire and action. For example, I don’t believe that a bit of rock is inherently powerful or capable of making a thing happen. I do believe that using an object like a crystal (or literally any object) as a conscious focus for intent can increase the potential power of actions taken in relation to that intent. Even the least witchy of people can probably relate to wearing a ‘lucky’ pair of pants to a job interview, saying “Break a leg!” to an actor about to go on-stage or keeping a keepsake from a special holiday in a specific place on the mantelpiece.

It’s also worth mentioning that not all witches are Pagans. I know Buddhist witches, Christian witches and witches who believe in no deities at all. My husband shares my chaos magic leanings and we sometimes perform ritual work together, especially around season-based festivals, but he doesn’t refer to himself as a witch or have any religious beliefs. If I haven’t made it super clear already, witchery and magic are very individual things.


Finally…

This has been a long post! I really want to write more about Paganism and witchcraft because it’s a HUGE part of my life. I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have, although I can only answer based on my own experience and perspective.